Monday, February 09, 2009

A Blogger Promises to Change the 'Entire System' - World Waits With Baited Breath!

A Blogger, ‘Heroesall’, on Alternet.org writes a bit of sense with a large amount of nonsense HERE:

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the utopian free market doesn’t exist. It can’t exist. It’s based on a mis-interpretation of Adam Smith and what John Cleese might call the blinkered, philistine, pig-ignorance of economists, blithely holding on to abstract concepts that have no relationship to the real world. So we have to stop basing all of our financial decisions on what might happen if those free market fairies really existed, and start basing our decisions on what happens here on Planet Real.”

And:

It’s also a very good idea to direct some of the bailout billions towards calming the housing crisis in the US. If governmental power and billions of dollars can’t stop people being turfed out of their homes while CEOs ride the cash wave, then it should be blatantly obvious to anyone with more than 3 brain cells to rub together that our economic system no longer serves the common good and should be replaced entire. I’ve got a few suggestions there, which I’ll talk about in coming weeks.”

Comment
Yes, the ‘utopian free market’ does not exist. Whether it “can exist” or “can’t exist” is a completely different question, with many different answers.

As for “free market fairies”, I have some sympathy with ‘Heroesall’, having to deal almost daily with the mythical body part of ‘an invisible hand’ here on Lost Legacy.

Old ideas and beliefs from the ancient cult of Mercantile Political Economy still dominate much of world trade, with their pathological ‘jealousy of trade’ (David Hume’s evocative description of the condition), and the sectional instincts of protectionism, common tooin the so-called 'free-market' economies of the USA and Europe.

I am not sure that ‘Heroesall’ is coherent on ‘Planet real’ (by which she means her set of beliefs, which may or may not be as fanciful as what she criticises). Her language is not encouraging for readers who look for answers from her:

it should be blatantly obvious to anyone with more than 3 brain cells to rub together that our economic system no longer serves the common good and should be replaced entire.”

Wow! ‘Heroesall’, able by self-affirmation to “rub together” (an unusual metaphor for the workings of the human brain) more than “three brain cells, intends to “replace” the “entire” “economic system” within which billions of us go about our lives.

I am impressed, to say the least, and scrolled down the read more about what was to replace our “our economic system” and, as important, exactly how this would be done, but alas, the post ended there with the cop-out line, that ‘Heroesall’ is going to reveal her “few suggestions”, about which she’ll “talk about in coming weeks”.

But can the world wait for a “few weeks” to hear about how the “entire” system is changed?

I think there is little substance in “Heroesall’s” more than ‘three brain cells’ master plan to change everything, everywhere. A clue to this judgement comes in the sentence, quoted above:

If governmental power and billions of dollars can’t stop people being turfed out of their homes while CEOs ride the cash wave…”

It may have escaped her notice that her defining moment for change in the recognition that people have been and are “turfed out” of their homes for all kinds of reasons throughout booms as well as busts, and would continue to be so in any conceivable economic system.

But worse, billions of people do not have anything like the relative luxury of the worst housing in the USA, let alone the average quality found there, in places like Asia, including China and India, and the slums of many Third World countries (see ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ and compare the worst in the rest of the world with the poor in the USA).

Capitalism, even in its State-Capitalist variety, has produced living standards unprecedented in history and, recently, in countries that have liberalised their economies (China, India, Vietnam) the results have raised tens of millions out of their absolute poverty levels.

Over the next few weeks, while we await Heroesall’s remedies, I hope she contemplates her ‘entire’ changes with a wider perspective than she shows in her post.

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